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Emerging, Gifted and X (EGX)

Emerging, Gifted and X (EGX) is a fortnightly series of free, 30-minute discussions with some of the most exceptional and talented screen creatives, who come from diverse backgrounds Diversity to AFTRS means a screen community and culture that is representative of all Australians, including those from non-Anglo-Celtic cultural backgrounds, people with a disability, diverse gender and sexual orientation, and those with geographic and other socioeconomic disadvantages.

When: Every second Thursday from 23 April
Time: 12.00 pm – 12.30 pm AEST
Where: Live streamed on the AFTRS Facebook page

Recordings will be available for catch-up viewing on Facebook after the stream.

UPCOMING EVENTS

4 June w/ Tasnim Hossain and Sophea Op

Join Tasnim Hossain, Sophea Op and AFTRS’ Gary Paramanathan in conversation about growing up ethnic, from the very white neighbourhoods of Canberra to the hyper diverse suburbs of Western Sydney. Tasnim and Sophea discuss creating work as WOC, across platforms, whether in theatre or television. They explore developing their style in tandem with their identities, finding connections and belonging in a sector where they are not the norm.

TASNIM HOSSAIN

Tasnim Hossain is a playwright, dramaturg and director. As a playwright, she has worked with ATYP, Shopfront Youth Arts and Canberra Youth Theatre and has written and performed solo work independently around Australia. She has worked with Q Theatre, BMEC, Arts OutWest, CuriousWorks, Performance Space and Playwriting Australia as a dramaturg. She has been a STC and Contemporary Asian Australian Performance’s Directors Initiative participant, a Griffin Theatre Studio Artist, a MTC’s Women in Theatre program participant, and Resident Playwright at ATYP. She was also a co-creator, co-writer and performer in Carpark Clubbing, a web series for ABC iView, and is currently serving on ATYP’s board.

SOPHEA OP

Sophea Op is an actor, writer, and theatre maker from Western Sydney. She is one of the creators, writers and main cast of ABC iView’s web series Carpark Clubbing. She is currently in the National Theatre of Parramatta (NToP) playwriting program, “Playwrights of Parramatta”. Her theatre credits include BYDS’ The Prophet Remix: Kahlil Gibran, directed by Felix Cross, PYT Fairfield’s Suburbist, directed by Kate Worsley, and The Q Theatre’s How to Make a Happy Meal, directed by Nick Atkins. Sophea is an ensemble member at PYT Fairfield. She holds a B.A. in Communication Arts.

Gary Paramanathan

Gary is the Outreach Manager at AFTRS, he works at the intersection of arts, culture and community. Gary has previously worked in Western Sydney on community arts and cultural development projects, including with ICE, Fairfield City Council, Penrith City Council, Parramasala, Diversity Arts Australia to name a few. He founded the short film festival Colourfest and the storytelling night Them Heavy People. He holds a Masters in International Communications. Gary is passionate about migrant and diaspora storytelling and hopes to add to the rich tapestry of diverse Australian storytelling through his work.

18 June w/ Maria Tran

Join Maria Tran and AFTRS’ Pearl Tan as they discuss creating your own work and space in the screen sector. Hear about traversing acting, writing, producing and in Maria’s case doing some memorable stunt, action choreography and martial arts work, all as a woman of colour on screen.

Maria Tran

Maria Tran is an actor, filmmaker and martial artist working across video, performance and action choreography. Her international film credits include Roger Corman’s Hollywood movie Fist of the Dragon, Chinese mixed martial arts movie Death Mist and Vietnamese blockbuster Tracer. Maria won the 2013 Breakout Female Performer at the International Action on Film Festival & 2016 Female Action Performer of the Year, MartialCon for her role as director/producer on female-led action comedy Hit Girls. In Australia, she appeared on ABC’s My Place, Maximum Choppage, Channel 10’s Street Smart as well working as a stunt attachment on Jackie Chan’s movie Bleeding Steel. Her recent theatre works include the development of Action Star with PYT Fairfield.

In 2018, Maria became the recipient of the Create NSW Western Sydney Arts Fellowship award and established female led film and art collective Phoenix Eye based in Western Sydney. In 2019 she became the Fight Director for Bell Shakespeare’s Macbeth showing at the Sydney Opera House and in the same year, is directing female led action film Echo 8, which she also stars in.

Pearl Tan

Pearl Tan was born in Perth, Western Australia. She is the founder and director of Pearly Productions, creating independent films with a focus on diversity. She was named one of the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence in 2016 and delivered a TEDx talk on reimagining diversity in 2017.

She is the creator behind the award-winning YouTube series Minority Box and directed the feature film The Casting Game in 2017. In 2014, Pearl co-founded the Equity Diversity Committee and held the position of Co-Chair for two years.

She sits on board for the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and on the National Performers Committee for Actors Equity. She graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) Acting course in 2005 and also holds a Communications degree majoring in Media Studies from Edith Cowan University.

In 2009, she received a Mike Walsh Fellowship to attend the New York Film Academy. In 2016, she completed a Master of Commerce on a Business Leader Postgraduate Scholarship at the University of Sydney. She is currently the Senior Lecturer in Directing and Subject Leader, Character & Performance at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and moonlights as a presenter for ABC Radio.

2 July w/ Violeta Ayala

Violeta Ayala and AFTRS’s Alejandra Canales discuss the documentary form, especially in Latin America and within the Latin diaspora. They explore the responsibility of diasporic filmmakers, creating work in multiple countries, and presenting authentic work that doesn’t skid into sensationalism or a singular narrative for communities they collaborate with.

Violeta Ayala

Violeta Ayala is a Quechua film director, producer, writer and artist with Bolivian and Australian nationality. She is best known for directing the award winning documentaries Cocaine Prison (2017), The Fight (2017), The Bolivian Case (2015) and Stolen (2009). Her films have premiered at a number of acclaimed festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival, screening in hundreds of festivals worldwide and distributed The Guardian, PBS, Amazon Prime and others.

Violeta’s won 50 awards, including a Walkey Award and nominations for the prestigious IDA in Los Angeles and the Rory Peck Sony Impact Award in London. She is working on the feature version of The Fight, Prison X an immersive and interactive VR experience based on Neo-Andean myths. Violeta is an alumnus of Film Independent, Berlinale, Hot Docs, IFP New York, Good Pitch NY, IDFA and a Sundance and Tribeca Film Institute Fellow. She is a founding member of United Notions Film.

Alejandra Canales

Dr. Alejandra Canales is an award-winning film director, producer with more than 15 years’ experience working in the Australian Film industry. She was awarded a scholarship to complete a MA Hons at AFTRS in 2005 and in 2008 she received a scholarship to complete her Doctorate of Creative Arts.

She has been part of international residencies such us 5SUR5 in Belgium and the IDFAcademy in The Netherlands and has received several scholarships and prestigious grants such us the Ian Potter Cultural Trust.

Her work has screened at several festivals across the world including IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and Sydney Film Festival. She has won the Dendy Award, ATOM award and the Cinema delle Done documentary award in Turin, Italy. She was nominated for the IF Award and received a special mention from the Film Critics Circle of Australia.

She has extensive teaching experience across screen media and documentary courses both practical and theoretical. She has taught at the NYU Sydney, Western Sydney University, Sydney Film School, The National Institute of Dramatic Arts and in many aboriginal communities across Australia.

Alejandra was the Co-Director and Programmer of the inaugural version of Antenna Documentary Film Festival. She is the creator of Doc_Space and the company director of the recently created production company Matadora Films.

PAST EVENTS

21 May w/ Nora Niasari

Nora Niasari and AFTRS’ Alejandra Canales discuss documentaries, women of colour telling stories, crossing over across professions, in Nora’s case architecture to screen, and how to represent their stories, communities with sensitivity and authenticity.

Nora Niasari

Nora is an Iranian-Australian writer and director based in Melbourne. She holds a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Masters in Film & Television from the Victorian College of the Arts.

In 2015, her graduate film, The Phoenix (Simorgh) was nominated for an Australian Director’s Guild Award for Best Student Film and was selected for Melbourne International Film Festival’s prestigious Accelerator program.

Her most recent films include the narrative short, Waterfall, which competed at the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival and the 2018 St Kilda Film Festival. Her mid-length documentary, Casa Antúnez was nominated for the New Talent Award at the 2017 Sheffield Doc Fest and Best Australian Documentary at the 2017 Antenna Documentary Festival.

In 2019, her episodic writing credits include Matchbox Pictures/ABC TV series The Heights (Series 2) and Thumper Pictures’ sci-fi series Second Time. In 2020, Nora is releasing her latest short film, Tâm and is developing her debut feature film, Shayda with Porchlight Films.

Alejandra Canales

Dr. Alejandra Canales is an award-winning film director, producer with more than 15 years’ experience working in the Australian Film industry. She was awarded a scholarship to complete a MA Hons at AFTRS in 2005 and in 2008 she received a scholarship to complete her Doctorate of Creative Arts.

She has been part of international residencies such us 5SUR5 in Belgium and the IDFAcademy in The Netherlands and has received several scholarships and prestigious grants such us the Ian Potter Cultural Trust.

Her work has screened at several festivals across the world including IDFA International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and Sydney Film Festival. She has won the Dendy Award, ATOM award and the Cinema delle Done documentary award in Turin, Italy. She was nominated for the IF Award and received a special mention from the Film Critics Circle of Australia.

She has extensive teaching experience across screen media and documentary courses both practical and theoretical. She has taught at the NYU Sydney, Western Sydney University, Sydney Film School, The National Institute of Dramatic Arts and in many aboriginal communities across Australia.

Alejandra was the Co-Director and Programmer of the inaugural version of Antenna Documentary Film Festival. She is the creator of Doc_Space and the company director of the recently created production company Matadora Films.

7 May w/ Moreblessing Maturure

Moreblessing Maturure and AFTRS’ Pearl Tan discuss the intersection of being multidisciplinary artists; actor, writer, activist, and creating work for yourself in the absence of it. They will also discuss creating space for others and building a community of creatives.

Moreblessing Maturure

Moreblessing Maturure is a Zimbabwean/Australian inter-disciplinary artist, TEDx Speaker and the Creative Director of FOLK Magazine. Her work across literature, stage and screen as a performer and writer has included engagements with Playwriting Australia, Australian Theatre for Young People, and Sydney Theatre Company (STC). She is currently developing new works including Screen Australia-funded series Afro Sistahs and a new work for Darlinghurst Theatre Company (DTC) in their Next In Line program. May 2020 will see Moreblessing premiere her latest work at Next Wave Festival. In 2019, she was a participant in Screen Australia’s Developing the Developer workshop and was named Girlfriend Magazine’s 25 women under 25 pushing for change alongside features in Vogue Australia, Elle Magazine and Fashion Journal. She has also worked with STC, DTC and various independent companies as dramaturg, outreach producer and cultural advisor. This work supports the advocacy practice Moreblessing carries out within the arts for accurate and diverse representation. She is a proud member of Actors Equity and MEAA’s Equity Diversity and Pride Committees.

Pearl Tan

Pearl Tan was born in Perth, Western Australia. She is the founder and director of Pearly Productions, creating independent films with a focus on diversity. She was named one of the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence in 2016 and delivered a TEDx talk on reimagining diversity in 2017.

She is the creator behind the award-winning YouTube series Minority Box and directed the feature film The Casting Game in 2017. In 2014, Pearl co-founded the Equity Diversity Committee and held the position of Co-Chair for two years.

She sits on board for the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and on the National Performers Committee for Actors Equity. She graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) Acting course in 2005 and also holds a Communications degree majoring in Media Studies from Edith Cowan University.

In 2009, she received a Mike Walsh Fellowship to attend the New York Film Academy. In 2016, she completed a Master of Commerce on a Business Leader Postgraduate Scholarship at the University of Sydney. She is currently the Senior Lecturer in Directing and Subject Leader, Character & Performance at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and moonlights as a presenter for ABC Radio.

23 APRIL w/ S. Shakthidharan

This edition featured special guest S. Shakthidharan, the award-winning writer of the Belvoir Theatre and Co-Curious production of ‘Counting and Cracking’. Speaking with AFTRS’ Gary Paramanathan, Shakthidharan explored community arts and cultural development with a public outcome, and interrogated practices of representation and authenticity when presenting works with and about culture and community.

S. Shakthidharan

Shakthi is a western Sydney storyteller with Sri Lankan heritage and Tamil ancestry. He’s a writer, director and producer of theatre and film, and composer of original music. Recent projects include his debut play, Counting and Cracking, which recently completed a sold-out season to rave reviews at the 2019 Sydney Festival and won 7 Helpmann Awards, with Belvoir; Laka, a multi-platform film and VR project touring around the world, from Brewarrina to Los Angeles; and Rizzy’s 18th Birthday Party, which premiered at Carriageworks in 2014 and was adapted into feature film Riz for the 2015 Sydney Film Festival. Shakthi is the Artistic Director of Kurinji and Artistic Lead at Co-Curious. Co-Curious is a sister company to CuriousWorks, where Shakthi was the Founder and Artistic Director from 2003-2018. Shakthi was the inaugural Associate Artist at Carriageworks and is the recipient of both the Phillip Parson’s and Kirk Robson awards.

Gary Paramanathan

Gary is the Outreach Manager at AFTRS, he works at the intersection of arts, culture and community. Gary has previously worked in Western Sydney on community arts and cultural development projects, including with ICE, Fairfield City Council, Penrith City Council, Parramasala, Diversity Arts Australia to name a few. He founded the short film festival Colourfest and the storytelling night Them Heavy People. He holds a Masters in International Communications. Gary is passionate about migrant and diaspora storytelling and hopes to add to the rich tapestry of diverse Australian storytelling through his work.